State rail projects get boost as driving declines
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The federal government is chipping in nearly $30 million for 15 passenger rail projects across the country as Americans continue to drive less and take the train more, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said Tuesday.
Peters said the decrease in driving means government must rely less on shrinking gasoline tax revenues to pay for transportation projects, including public transit.
"Federal transportation policies that rely almost exclusively on gas taxes are failing our state and local governments," she said.
She also released new data showing that Americans, coping with high gasoline prices, drove 9.6 billion fewer miles in July 2008 than July 2007 - a 3.6 percent decline. July also marked the ninth consecutive monthly decrease in vehicle miles traveled, Peters said.
Meanwhile, transit ridership is up 11 percent and Amtrak carried more passengers in July than in any month in its history, she said.